Postal Rate Prices to Increase in April on Mailings
The United States Postal Service announced yesterday their intention to increase postage on non-competitive products an average of 1.741%, effective April 17, 2011. This increase is based on a price cap calculated by the Postal Regulatory Commission (PRC) using Consumer Price Index (CPI) data, and will apply across each Mailing Services class of mail. Increases for competitive products, such as Priority Mail and Express Mail, took place on January 2, 2011.
The price increases vary by class and processing category and are as follows:
- First-Class: overall increase 1.7%, with flats getting the largest increase of 5.3%. Parcels see an increase of 3.8%, while presort letters and cards see an increase of 1.8%. International First-Class has an increase of 4%.
- Periodicals: Outside County rates go up by 1.8%, while In-county rates increase by 1.1%.
- Standard Mail: Overall increase of 1.7%, with parcels/NFM’s receiving the largest increase at 11.3%. Flats see an increase of only 0.8%, while letters go up 1.8%. Basic Carrier-route sorted letters, flats, and parcels see a smaller increase of 1.3%. High-density and Saturation Carrier-route sorted letters have an increase of 0.6%, while High-density and Saturation Carrier-route sorted flats and parcels see an increase of 0.4%.
- Package Services: Single Piece Parcels will go up by 1.8%. Bound Printed Matter Flats increase by 0.7%, while BPM Parcels increase by 2.0%, as does Media Mail.
Mailers may access Excel form rates charts for Domestic Mail, International Mail, and also Downloadable Files of the detailed rates on the Postal Explorer web site.
Postmaster General Pat Donahoe noted during the announcement that he would like to see these rates be stable for at least a period of one year. Donahoe also indicated that in the future he would like to move the annual increase to a date earlier in the year. Previously, increases for non-competitive mail classes occurred in May. Donahoe would like to see the increases moved to the same time as the competitive products, which is in early January. However, many in the mailing industry have difficulties with trying to prepare for price changes over the holiday season and end-of-year accounting close-outs, so it is likely that some sort of compromise will be reached.
May 2011 Intelligent Mail Barcode deadline postponed
The USPS also announced that it will delay the previously announced deadline of May 2011 for mailers to use Intelligent Mail barcodes to qualify for automation discounts, thereby granting extended life to the POSTNET barcode. Citing mailer difficulties with accommodating this deadline, the USPS has postponed this requirement to a future date to be announced. Also receiving a “stay of execution” is the PLANET barcode for use with the USPS Confirm program for mail tracking.
Regardless of this postponement, we highly encourage mailers to convert to Intelligent Mail as soon as possible.